Light on the hill: A history of Tufts College, 1852-1952
|IT HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID that the library is the heart of an academic institution. If the analogy were carried a bit farther, it might be said that the faculty is the nervous system and the curriculum the vertebrae. It might be further posited that, once established, both the curriculum and the faculty organization tend to change but slowly. Educational institutions, by their very nature and by virtue of the tasks historically assigned them, have usually been conservative. The machinery once in operation, it seems to grind inexorably; alteration comes only after great and prolonged deliberation and is not as earth-shaking as it seems to be at the time the academic status quo is disturbed.|
A review of the changes in curricular structure and faculty organization at Tufts over the years would seem to support this generalization. Not that change failed to take place, but, in the perspective of time, tradition and precedent (notably in the first half-century or so) bore heavily on these two facets of educational operations at Tufts. At the same time, the history of the College reveals that many of the "innovations" of a later day - especially in the area of curriculum - had roots much deeper in the past than the present-minded individual is likely to realize.